Track your Lovacado journey

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Australia’s leading avocado grower and marketer Costa Group has teamed up with trace technology leaders iTrazo TraceTech to develop a Digital Traceability platform for their Lovacado avocados.

Launching across major and independent retailers nationally this March, Costa’s Lovacado Shepard avocados, grown in Central Queensland, will have a QR code integrated into the fruit stickers to enhance business supply chain traceability and increase consumer engagement.

Costa Avocado’s Marketing Manager Kylie McKnight said the business was excited to partner with iTrazo to integrate this technology into Costa’s Lovacado fruit.

“This technology will allow us to better understand our farm to plate journey and engage with our consumers in a different way. Once the QR code is scanned by consumers the platform provides us with real-time geolocation data so we can see where the avocado has been purchased or consumed, and how far it has travelled from farm,” said Kylie.

In addition to its traceability capabilities, the iTrazo technology provides a platform for Lovacado consumers to rate their avocado, providing Costa with instant feedback on quality, ripeness, appearance and brand awareness.

The platform also provides consumers with information on the avocado’s provenance, as well as recipe inspiration, avocado health benefits and all-important selecting and storage tips and tricks.

iTrazo’s COO Paul Whybird said his company was committed to building trust and accountability for Costa’s avocado consumers.

“The direct consumer communication will enable both the consumer and Costa to exchange information openly. Trace technologies increase consumer confidence and gives brands the peace of mind that comes from knowing their products arrived at their destination safely, on time, and without interference.

“Costa will further tap into existing farm and process data to provide ‘Farm to Fork’ transparency while linking marketing and distribution data to enhance and innovate its operations,” said Paul.

Following the Shepard season, Costa will roll out the iTrazo ADI platform across its FNQ grown Lovacado Hass avocados.

Leo focuses on sustainability

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Sustainability is a key focus for Leo Boden, who is the recipient of the 2021 Costa Berries Scholarship in Horticultural Science at the University of Queensland.

Leo is in his third year of a dual degree in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture, with a Horticulture major.

“My family has no agricultural background but when I was at school, I was looking at my options and agriculture appealed being a future focused industry. The broad scope within the industry struck me immediately as being full of possibilities in terms of sustainability, science and technology. It was also touted there were great job prospects which was appealing,” Leo said.

“I chose Horticulture as I’m interested in the challenges of growing fruits and vegetables in Australia.  In one of my university subjects, I chose to analyse Costa Group operations for an assignment, and I was impressed with the operational aspects of their approach to sustainable horticulture, business activities and workplace culture.

“Science and sustainability are significant factors in horticulture moving forward and my studies at UQ are addressing these issues. I’m thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to learn from Costa Berries.”

Leo said the work experience opportunities were highly valued.

“The scholarship funds have given me confidence that I can pay my way to travel to undertake work experience Australia wide, as necessary. They also provide for the possibility of me giving up one of my three part-time jobs to focus on my studies and holiday work experience positions.”

Costa offers a range of scholarships through the University of Tasmania, University of Queensland, University of New England, Charles Sturt University and CQUniversity. 

Scholarship sets students up for success

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A scholarship worth $10,000 is now open for local students in the Guyra, Armidale, Glen Innes and Inverell region, who are starting their university education in horticulture or agriculture.

The Costa Tomatoes New England Tertiary Scholarship is offered each year to a student who has finished their Year 12 studies and is embarking on their university education.

Tiffany Tarrant, who finished Year 12 at Duval High School in Armidale in 2019, was the 2020 recipient of the Costa Scholarship. She is about to start her second year of a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England.

“I always wanted to go into agriculture, I’m very passionate about the industry.  When I got the scholarship, it was such a huge relief for my studies,” Tiffany said.

“I have two younger sisters and I’m the first in my family to go to university.  It took a lot of financial stress off and has really helped me pursue my passion.

“I would 100 per cent recommend anyone in the local area to put an application in. The financial support really allows you to focus on your studies. It’s helped me to get the necessary textbooks and practical equipment.

“It’s good to a see a large company like Costa supporting local students.”

The Costa Tomatoes New England Tertiary Scholarship is open for applications until March 31.

It is open to 2020 Year 12 students residing in Guyra, Armidale, Glen Innes or Inverell area who are starting full-time study in 2021, in a relevant Agriculture/Horticultural degree at an approved Australian University.

Applications can be made online.